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Looking at what a potential contract extension for George Kittle could look like

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I take a look at what a new deal for Kittle could look like

NFL: San Francisco 49ers-Minicamp Stan Szeto-USA TODAY Sports

Last season 49ers tight end George Kittle broke Rob Gronkowski’s single-season record for receiving yards by a tight end, and soon Kittle will be eligible for an extension, so let’s take a look at the top tight end contracts, and try to project what Kittle may end up being paid.

According to OverTheCap.com, the following players are the highest paid tight ends.

First up is Green Bay Packers Jimmy Graham, who signed a 3-year, $30 million deal in 2018, which averages $10 million a year, which also included $11 million fully guaranteed, along with a $5 million roster bonus he received in 2019.

Below are breakdowns via OTC.

Year Age Base Salary Prorated Bonus Roster Bonus Per Game Roster Bonus Cap Number
2018 32 $1,450,000 $3,666,666 $0 $300,000 $5,916,666
2019 33 $3,450,000 $3,666,666 $5,000,000 $300,000 $12,666,666
2020 34 $7,450,000 $3,666,668 $0 $300,000 $11,666,668
Total $12,350,000 $11,000,000 $5,000,000 $900,000 $30,250,000

Next up is Kansas City Chiefs Travis Kelce, who signed a 5-year, $46.8 million extension in 2016, which averages $9,368,400 a year, which included $20 million guaranteed, of which $10.517 million was fully guaranteed, which consisted of his 2016 base salary of $675,000, and a $9.842 million signing bonus.

Below is a breakdowns via OTC.

Year Age Base Salary Prorated Bonus Roster Bonus Per Game Roster Bonus Cap Number
2016 27 $675,000 $2,144,226 $104,000 $0 $2,948,226
2017 28 $2,700,000 $1,968,400 $0 $500,000 $5,418,400
2018 29 $6,800,000 $1,968,400 $0 $1,000,000 $9,955,900
2019 30 $7,500,000 $1,968,400 $0 $1,000,000 $10,718,400
2020 31 $7,250,000 $1,968,400 $0 $1,000,000 $10,468,400
2021 32 $7,750,000 $1,968,400 $0 $1,000,000 $9,000,000
Total $32,675,000 $11,986,226 $104,000 $4,500,000 $48,509,326

Next is Washington’s Jordan Reed, who signed a 5-year, $46.75 million extension in 2016, which averages $9.35 million a year, which included $22 million guaranteed, of which $14 million was fully guaranteed, which included a $9 million signing bonus.

Below is a breakdown via OTC.

Year Age Base Salary Prorated Bonus Per Game Roster Bonus Cap Number
2016 26 $1,250,000 $1,937,278 $250,000 $3,406,028
2017 27 $3,750,000 $1,800,000 $250,000 $5,737,500
2018 28 $8,250,000 $1,800,000 $250,000 $10,206,250
2019 29 $7,671,000 $1,800,000 $250,000 $9,674,125
2020 30 $8,250,000 $1,800,000 $250,000 $10,300,000
2021 31 $8,750,000 $0 $250,000 $9,000,000
Total $37,921,000 $9,137,278 $1,500,000 $48,323,903

Next, we have Minnesota Vikings Kyle Rudolph who signed a 5-year, $36.5 million deal, which averages $9.025 million a year, which included $16.025 million in guarantees, $9 million of which was fully guaranteed, it included a $7.25 million signing bonus.

Below is a breakdown via OTC.

Year Age Base Salary Prorated Bonus Per Game Roster Bonus Workout Bonus Guaranteed Salary Cap Number
2019 30 $1,750,000 $1,450,000 $250,000 $100,000 $1,750,000 $3,550,000
2020 31 $7,025,000 $1,450,000 $250,000 $100,000 $0 $9,450,000
2021 32 $7,650,000 $1,450,000 $250,000 $100,000 $0 $9,450,000
2022 33 $8,450,000 $1,450,000 $250,000 $100,000 $0 $10,250,000
2023 34 $9,850,000 $1,450,000 $250,000 $100,000 $0 $11,650,000
Total $34,725,000 $7,250,000 $1,250,000 $500,000 $1,750,000 $44,350,000

Next, we have Carolina Panthers Greg Olsen, who signed a 3-year, $17.1 million deal, which averages $8.55 million a year, which included $12.115 million fully guaranteed, which consisted of an $11.1 million signing bonus, and his 2018 base salary, which was $1.015 million.

Below is a breakdown via OTC.

Year Age Base Salary Prorated Bonus Per Game Roster Bonus Cap Number
2018 33 $1,015,000 $6,700,000 $0 $7,950,000
2019 34 $1,900,000 $3,700,000 $1,000,000 $6,662,500
2020 35 $6,600,000 $3,700,000 $1,000,000 $11,800,000
Total $9,515,000 $14,100,000 $2,000,000 $26,412,500

Finally, we have Philadelphia Eagles Zach Ertz, who signed a 5-year, $42.5 million deal, which averages $8.5 million a year, which included $13,318,527 fully guaranteed, which included a $8 million signing bonus.

Below is a breakdown via OTC.

Year Age Base Salary Prorated Bonus Cap Number
2016 26 $1,138,527 $2,173,036 $3,311,563
2017 27 $775,000 $2,245,000 $3,020,000
2018 28 $790,000 $4,047,500 $4,937,500
2019 29 $805,000 $5,486,500 $6,291,500
2020 30 $6,410,000 $5,821,500 $12,231,500
2021 31 $8,250,000 $4,221,500 $12,471,500
2022 32 $0 $1,774,000 $1,774,000
2023 33 $0 $1,774,000 $1,774,000
Total $18,168,527 $27,543,036 $45,811,563

I believe Kittle’s market value will end up being the highest paid tight end, which means eclipsing Jimmy Graham’s $10 million APY. I also see Kittle ending up with yearly per-game roster bonuses, likely in the $500,000 to $750,000 a year, and yearly $50,000 to $100,000 workout bonuses.

As far as guaranteed money, I see Kittle commanding somewhere in the Jordan Reed area, which was $22 million, and $14 million fully guaranteed. I can fully see Kittle beating Reed’s guaranteed money.

As usual, the 49ers would guarantee Kittle’s first-year base salary, while giving him injury guaranteed base salaries, or partial injury insured further down the road.

I also see Kittle ending up with a guaranteed roster bonus, and a smaller signing bonus in the $4 million to $5 million range, depending on the length of his deal.

This type of deal would, of course, make Kittle the highest paid tight end. Now obviously, this is assuming Kittle keeps up the production that the 49ers and 49er fans expect him to do.